As of the 2022 South Carolina College-and-Career-Ready Assessments, just 54% of fourth graders in Charleston County School District meet or exceed grade level expectations math. By 8th grade, that number falls to 41%, leaving the majority students unprepared for high school coursework and postsecondary and career options. The onset of COVID-19 exacerbates the need, especially in math (January 2021 SC EOC Report).
Research shows that concrete, targeted experiences with numbers in the early years can close conceptual gaps and prepare students for algebra, a graduation requirement (Kathy Richardson, Thomas Carpenter). Tutoring has been found to deliver significant gains in rigorous, recent studies (Pellegrini M. 2018, Nickow A. 2020, Guryan J. 2021) and was recommended in the January 2021 report by the SC Education Oversight Committee. Teachers and families have limited capacity to provide one-on-one academic attention, but volunteer tutors can help.
Heart Math Tutoring gives young students successful experiences in math through one-on-one tutoring during the school day delivered by supervised volunteers. In each school, 50 students in grades 1-5 receive tutoring twice per week for 30 minutes. HMT’s activity-based, structured curriculum and on-site support from staff during tutoring enables hundreds of volunteers to be effective with a commitment of one hour per week and minimizes day-to-day work for school staff. Over 97% of volunteers rate the experience positive each year, and kids embrace the one-on-one attention, games, encouragement, and progress.
- To date, 98% of over 4,500 students served have shown growth on pre/post assessments that meets the targets set by elementary math specialists at UNC-Charlotte and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
- Comparison studies find that Heart students grow faster than non-Heart students in math on North Carolina End-of-Grade Tests and often retain gains into the subsequent year (see HMT Annual Report 2020, page 10).
- Over 90% of teachers report that student confidence and/or enthusiasm towards academics increases because of Heart Math Tutoring.
A 501c3 nonprofit, Heart Math Tutoring grew to support over 20 schools and 1,000+ students and volunteer tutors in Charlotte, NC. In partnership with Charleston-area philanthropists and leaders, HMT expanded outside of Charlotte to the Charleston area during the 2021/22 school year. HMT completed a pilot program at Ladson Elementary School in Charleston County School District, thanks to financial support from Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina, John and Lynn Cooper, Martha and Eric Eubank, J. Henry Stuhr Funeral Homes, The Joanna Foundation, Pamela Levy, Scott and Donna Olsen, John and Alexandra Read, and Social Venture Partners – Charleston.
From January – April 2022, HMT Charleston tutors supported 23 elementary students, 100% of whom met or exceeded program growth goals. HMT received positive feedback from the school leadership team and have been confirmed to continue a second year of programming. HMT expanded to a second CCSD school site (Matilda Dunston Elementary), serving 65 students across both school sites during the 2022/23 school year. HMT Charleston will be expanding to a third school site during the 2032/24 school year, with plans to serve 135+CCSD students.